In the tabloid business, the practice is called "catch and kill."
That phrase was circulating on Saturday after the Wall Street Journal's solidly reported story that the National Enquirer - no stranger to checkbook journalism - had laid out $150,000 in August to a former Playboy magazine Playmate, who says she had a lengthy adulterous affair with Donald Trump a decade ago.
The paper paid for exclusive rights to Karen McDougal's story but never published it, the Journal reported. Thus: catch and kill, otherwise known as trapping a story to keep it out of the public eye, for one reason or another.
The tabloid, run by Trump pal David Pecker, is one of a tiny handful of papers to endorse Trump for president. (The Enquirer's parent company claims that it paid McDougal not only for rights to an unspecified personal story, but also to write a fitness column.)
Trump, through a spokeswoman, has denied the affair. And of course, such a story would not have revealed anything new about Trump's character, nor would it have been disqualifying to his candidacy.